Financial Tribune- The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has stopped taking orders for all foreign-made cars on its website without providing any explanation, several local websites reported on Monday.
The ministry often publishes and updates the list of cars that can be imported on the website http://sabtaresh.tpo.ir/. On January 2 no cars were listed.
Since December 20, the website stopped taking orders for foreign cars assembled in the US following a directive from the government that US-made cars were no longer welcome.
In its latest update on January 2, however, the website stopped accepting orders for all foreign cars regardless of the country of origin.
Although the ministry has not issued an official statement about the suspension or possible change in policy, it could be related to the government’s renewed efforts in reducing unnecessary car imports.
In December, the Rouhani administration sent a directive to the Ministry of Industries to the effect that import of cars by companies that do not have formal representation from the parent company or lack after-sales service centers will not be allowed.
Of the 43 auto importing firms only ten have been registered as official representatives of the brands they sell.
A report published by Mizan Online News Agency on December 31, 2016, did not mention the names of all the companies save for BMW Persia Khodro. It did, however, say that the ten companies were those who used to operate in Iran through “intermediary companies.”
US Cars Out the Door
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industries stopped the placing of orders for vehicles made or assembled in the United States, said the head of Iran’s Auto Importer’s Association on January 1.
The ministry stopped accepting requests for importing cars made or assembled in the US after December 21, 2015, ISNA quoted Farhad Ehteshamzad as saying.
Iran’s traffic police were the first to take action following the new rules. Eshteshamzad noted that several customers had bought cars made or assembled in the US, but the police refused to issue registration plates. He urged the officials to help unwitting car buyers who may have purchased a US-made car.
The cars made or assembled in the US which had made their way to Iran included a range of brands including Toyota, BMW, Volvo and Honda.
Cars are classified as consumer goods, and imports of all American-made consumer goods are apparently disallowed due to the nearly four-decade hostility of that country towards the Islamic Republic. The United States and Iran do not diplomatic relations. Ties were cut off soon after the revolution in 1979.